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Young Texas Voters Skipped Midterms

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This year’s midterm election cycle failed to drive young Texas voters to the polls. Only 25% of 18- to 29-year-olds registered to vote in Texas cast ballots in November’s elections.

Comparatively, 34% of the same group voted in the 2018 midterms, a record turnout, while 51% of them voted in the 2020 presidential election, according to a recent post-election report by Ryan Data & Research.

“Both parties in the state failed to mobilize and engage young voters in the way that they should have been,” said Olivia Juliana, director of politics and government affairs for Gen Z for Change — a “youth-led” non-profit leftist advocacy group.

“When we look at other campaigns across the country, especially in Pennsylvania, there was very, very, very strong youth encouragement coming from people running at the top of the ticket. Youth voices were prioritized,” she said. “We saw that in some races here in Texas, but we didn’t see that in all of them.”

According to the report by Austin-based GOP analyst Derek Ryan, young voters comprised 11% of the roughly 8.1 million Texans who voted this year, down from 13% in 2018 and 16% in 2020.

“75% of 18- to 29-year-olds stayed home this year,” said Ryan. “Meanwhile, nearly five times as many voters aged 50 and upvoted. … The election was won by older voters.”

Beto O’Rourke, who just lost his bid for Texas governor after losing the Senate race in 2018 against Ted Cruz, spent much of his campaign at colleges and universities catering to younger demographics.

“We thought there was significant enthusiasm,” said Jason Lee, deputy campaign manager for O’Rourke. “I don’t think, when we do the final analysis, we’re going to see the type of youth turnout that we were hoping for and looking for, and there’s probably a lot of reasons for that, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.”

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